Marines fire Javelins aboard Combat Center
By Cpl. Julie A. Paynter
| | December 20, 2002
MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- Confidence was restored in the Javelin Missile after 7th Marines Regiment conducted a Javelin shoot in the Prospect training area Dec. 17.
Gunners from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines and 1st and 3rd battalions of the 7th Marines participated in live-fire training with the medium anti-armor missile destroying four out of four targets, including one night target and targets at short-range and long-range distances.
"It's a fire-and-forget weapon system," said 1stLt. David Herron, platoon commander, Kilo Co., 3/7. "The second we launch the missile it can seek and destroy on its own."
"Both the Marines and the Javelin missile performed exceptionally," said Herron. "The shoot was a good confidence builder for the Marines. It was important that the first time they employed their weapon system they weren't firing against an enemy force."
Although the weapon system has a 90-percent hit rate, concerns were rising after two separate shooting incidents at Camp Pendleton, Calif., which resulted in misses. Multiple missiles were then distributed to Pendleton Marines and 7th Marines for further scrutiny.
"We proved in our attacks that the Javelin was successful against both tanks that give off a thermal image and tanks that do not," said Herron.
Each missile costs $80,000 to $90,000 depending on the prototype. It is usually reserved for high-priority targets.
"It has the most penetration or destructive capability of any anti-tank weapon in Marine Corps history," said Herron "However, if the target happens to be a truck or a bunker yet it is still high priority, we can still engage."
Herron added that the Javelin's capabilities and proven success offer much flexibility for gunners during desired employment.
"Confidence has been restored with the weapon system across the Marine Corps, and we will continue to employ the system within our weapons companies," said Herron.